Crowned Orb Weaver
Also (more prosaically) know as the Common Garden Spider, it’s worth overcoming any inclinations to arachnophobia to examine the intricate markings on its abdomen and legs. Common around Otley, they bring fascinating modes of sex and violence into your garden. The former, in that the female sometimes eats the male after (or even during!) mating; the latter in that prey is bitten and injected with enzymes that both paralyze it and start to liquify its insides. The spider then wraps it in silk, ready to eat later. This silk is amazing stuff: so light that a strand long enough to go all the way around the earth would still weigh less than a bag of sugar, and yet proportionally as strong as Kevlar, the material they use to make bullet-proof vests. This spider is one of those that when threatened will vibrate rapidly in its web to confuse and deter predators. The Cellar Spiders in our basement are good at this, too.
By Neil Griffin Photo by Pixabay